A Classic Rolls Royce ~ always posh
In my global travels I have met many different people from many different cultures, and although most have spoken good English, it’s almost never been English / English. An educated Englishman’s vocabulary contains hundreds of words and phrases which baffle Australians, Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians… Perhaps it’s time the rest of the world remembered that the language is English.
So, partly at the request of my friend from Orange County, California, USA, I thought I’d try to explain the meaning and etymology of some of these English / English words and idioms. Starting today with the word posh.
Posh is an adjective. It’s a complement, unless it’s used ironically. To describe someone or something as posh means that they, (he, she, it), are aristocratic, upper-crust, high-class, elegant, stylish, luxurious, gentlemanly, regal… In other words, the cream of the crop. Being rich doesn’t mean that you’re also posh ~ Donald Trump is not posh. Whereas, a classic Jaguar is posh. (Logic doesn’t enter into it.)
Etymologists can look away now. Posh comes from the acronym P.O.S.H. ~ Port Out Starboard Home, which was chalked on the sides of the luggage of upper crust people travelling, by sea, from England to India in the Heyday of the Empire.
In the days before air conditioning it could become unbearably hot aboard ship during certain parts of this voyage; down through the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea. You wanted a cabin on the shady side of the ship, the Northern side. Going out this was the port side, coming back to England this was the starboard side. Hence; Port Out, Starboard Home ~ POSH.
Posh is a slightly old-fashioned word ~ if you hear an Englishman using it today, then he’s probably well-educated, well-read, well-spoken, well-bred… in fact quite posh. The opposite of posh is pleb, which is an insult I’ll explain another time.
A classic Rolls Royce is very posh indeed.
(while an Englishman will use words with many origins, Romani is not one of them)